Iron bioavailability studied in infants: The influence of Phytic acid and ascorbic acid in infant formulas based on soy isolate

Lena Davidsson, Pilar Galan, Peter Kastenmayer, Francoise Cherouvrier, Marcela Juillerat, Serge Hercberg, Richard F. Hurrell

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The influence of phytic acid and ascorbic acid content of soy formula on iron (Fe) bioavailability was investigated in infants by analysis of the incorporation of stable isotopes of Fe into red blood cells 14 d after administration using a double stable isotope technique. Paired comparisons were made with each infant acting as his or her own control. The geometric mean fractional Fe incorporation into red blood cells increased from 5.5 to 6.8% (p < 0.05) when soy formula with the native content of phytic acid was compared with a 83% dephytinized formula. A more pronounced effect was shown with soy formula containing no phytic acid; the mean fractional Fe incorporation increased from 3.9 (native phytic acid) to 8.7% (zero phytic acid; p < 0.001). A significant (p < 0.01) effect was also demonstrated when the Fe:ascorbic acid molar ratio in the native phytate-containing formula was increased from 1:2.1 to 1:4.2; mean fractional Fe incorporation increased from 5.9 to 9.6%. These results demonstrate that the Fe bioavailability from soy-based infant formulas can be similarly increased by either removing phytic acid or increasing the ascorbic acid content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-822
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994


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